Wednesday, November 18, 2009

HCCA Executive Committee for 2009-10

Congratulations to the Executive Committee for 2009 - 2010

President: Adele Stevens
Vice President: Caroline Polak-Scowcroft
Secretary: Russell McGowan
Treasurer: Bev McConnell

Committee members: Marion Reilly, Dalane Drexler, Angela Wallace and David Lovegrove

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Annual General Meeting and Planning Workshop

On Tuesday, 10 November HCCA held our Annual General Meeting at the Southern Cross Club, Woden. Adele Stevens, President, reflected on the achievements of the past year:

The past year has been a very successful one for Health Care Consumers’ Association (HCCA) and I have been proud to hold the position of President and work with such a committed and enthusiastic group of health consumers. Over the year, the profile of HCCA has been significantly raised in the community following the hard work of both staff and members on a range of issues. It is not possible in this report to list all the areas where we have made a significant contribution with consumer participation but I would just like to highlight two: first, the GP Taskforce and, second, the Capital Asset Development Program.

Our concerns about the GP shortage were raised with the closure of a GP Practice in Wanniassa. The HCCA Blog detailed our action and response at that time and, with media interest, provided a way for the community to get involved in this issue. Following growing community concern, the ACT Minister for Health set up the GP Taskforce to investigate and make recommendations on ways to improve primary health care services in the ACT. HCCA was a significant contributor to the Task force deliberations. Primary health care was a big issue in the last year and will continue to be an area of major concern for HCCA with our interest and involvement in nurse led walk in clinics and the development of Enhanced Primary Health Care centres in the ACT.

The development of the Capital Asset Development Program (CAPD) following the ACT government’s commitment to spend $1 billion dollars in improving health services over the next 10 years has resulted in a major input from HCCA to this program of capital development. Here are now nine consumer representatives involved with the CAPD program and HCCA has been funded to provide a part time staff member to support these consumer representatives. The exciting program is just beginning and HCCA is pleased with the opportunities for consumer participation provided by the able CAPD team led by Megan Cahill at ACT Health. As the program grows, there will be lots more opportunities for consumer participation in the planning of future ACT health services.

The HCCA Executive Committee has benefited from the contribution of Jude Manning, Chair of our Governance Committee. This year, we endorsed a Governance Framework , and Risk Management Framework. These documents provide useful guidance to the Executive Committee in ensuring the strategic objectives of HCCA are met.

In addition, the HCCA Constitution was revised – a major task long overdue. My sincere thanks to the Working Party who laboured on this over the last year. I am very pleased that we can present the results of that work later in this meeting for your consideration.

Adele's full report in in the Annual Report.

Congratulations to the Executive Committee for 2009 - 2010
President: Adele Stevens
Vice President: Marion Reilly
Secretary: Russell McGowan
Treasurer: Bev McConnell
Committee members Dalane Drexler, Angela Wallace and David Lovegrove

After the formal meeting members participated in a workshop reflecting on the purpose of HCCA, reasons for involvement and ideas for renewal and growth. This is in the process of being written up and will be posted soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Proposed Sale of Clare Holland House

HCCA is opposed to the sale of Clare Holland House (CHH) to Little Company of Mary (LCM). We have a range of concerns relating to the continued integration of palliative care services, implications for governance and staff conditions, and the lack of considered analysis about current and future needs for palliative care in the ACT.

Integration of service:

Concerns have been raised that the proposed sale of Clare Holland House will create a private monopoly in ACT palliative care. At present the service is a tri-partite one, involving ACT Health, LCM, and the Palliative Care Society, which provides checks and balances on the quality of the services provided. What guarantees are there that this balancing mechanism will be maintained if the LCM becomes a monopoly provider of palliative care services?

Implications for governance and staff conditions:

Since home based palliative care management transferred to LCM, nursing staff resources available to provide palliative care in the community appear to be considerably less than when home based palliative care was part of ACT Health. Consumers are expressing concerns about these reductions in available resources while the need for palliative care is growing and the population increasing.

Staff are currently employed by ACT Health, but with the change of management will be employed by the Little Company of Mary and will be required to sign employment contracts agreeing to work to LCM values.

Future needs for palliative care in the ACT:

The palliative care approach is highly valued as a response to end-of-life care in the ACT community. However it is not all patient groups are adequately served because of limited resource availability (e.g. some cancer patients are well cared for but some people with other end of life conditions such as motor neurone are less well catered for; before any transfer of ownership consideration must be given to the establishment of an independent review team made up of individuals with expertise to build a progressive case for additional resources, and to examine the current mix.